The FCC recently solicited comments on the National Exchange Carrier Association‘s (NECA) annual payment formula and fund size estimate for the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund. The TRS Fund fiscal year begins July 1st and ends June 30th each year. Based on projected TRS funding requirements for the upcoming fiscal year, NECA, the TRS Fund administrator, proposes a carrier contribution factor of 0.01137 (1.137%), which reflects an increase over last year‘s contribution factor of 0.01012 (1.012%).
To arrive at the annual TRS Fund support payments owed by contributors, the proposed carrier contribution factor will be applied against last year‘s interstate and international telecommunications revenue, as reported in the annual FCC Form 499-A.
The annual TRS Fund support payments must be paid by all interstate wireline telecommunications providers and interconnected VoIP service providers. Consistent with past practices, we anticipate the FCC will approve NECA‘s proposals. Following approval, NECA has historically issued invoices for carrier contributions to the TRS Fund by late June/early July.
Details and Important Reminders
- Duty to Pay
A regulated carrier‘s obligation to pay TRS support contributions exists by virtue of having provided interstate or international telecommunications services or interconnected VoIP services during the past year, regardless of whether you receive an invoice from NECA.
- Minimum Payment
The minimum annual contribution to the TRS Fund continues at $25. The minimum contribution is owed by all carriers holding Filer IDs during the past year, even if the carrier reported no revenue in its annual Form 499-A.
- Terms of Payment
Carriers with annual TRS funding obligations exceeding $1,200 may opt to pay in twelve equal monthly installments, but must immediately contact NECA upon receipt of their annual NECA TRS invoice to initiate monthly billing. Thereafter, invoices will be issued to monthly contributors with payments due the 26th of each month.
- Late Filing Penalty
NECA will assess a late filing penalty of $100 to any carrier filing FCC Form 499-A after the April 1stdeadline.
Consequences of Non-Payment/Delinquency
Any carrier who owes money to the interstate TRS Fund will be considered delinquent and in “red light status” if payment is not made by the due date reflected on the NECA TRS invoice. Late payment charges will be applied to delinquent accounts not paid by the annual or monthly due dates. Furthermore, clients are reminded that if an annual contributor has not made its payment, including any late payment assessments, within 90 days of the NECA TRS invoice due date, the delinquent amount will be transferred to the FCC pursuant to the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. A monthly contributor whose payment is 90 days past due will also have its delinquent balance transferred to the FCC.
Questions about NECA‘s proposed carrier contribution fee factor should be directed to the law firm or your assigned regulatory compliance consultant. General contact information for Helein & Marashlian, LLC, The CommLaw Group, and its affiliated consulting firm, The Commpliance Group, is provided below.